I am neither evil nor a psychopath.
Shame really, we are still short of one for our Evil Psychopath monthly poker night! Let us know if you manage to acquire the evil of psychopathy you’re missing before the end of the month! We’ve got smoothies!
That’s one difference I regularly meet between western stories and anime. In the West, evil antagonists seem reduced to two qualities: they’re bad, and we don’t want/need to know about them. Evil here is like mysterious. Conversely, in anime, most villains have their motives explained as well as heroes. Sometimes, it’s the same motive! Typically, loyalty to friends (the °1 motive for heroes and villains alike in shonen).
This makes villains much more interesting and relatable. Villains are not alien, of a different substance than us. They’re like us, except they dare do what we don’t, and in doing that they exemplify their values in a way that lets us explore counterfactuals and learn from that experience. They’re so interesting that they can become more popular than heroes (Yagami Light).
A show that does it masterfully is Attack on Titan. It’s excellent at circling a character’s point of view in a few quick strokes and never making light of it. I can sympathise with really any character, however beef they have among themselves.
Psychopathically implementing our own values is a good way to put it. Now that you frame it this way, I can’t think of a good anime whose villains don’t have well fleshed-out motives. This is in stark contrast to Marvel, Star Wars, etc. where the villains’ ideologies fell like caricatures.
In the case of Star Wars, that’s only the movies. The old Expanded Universe content gives villains and anti-heroes much better grounding, to the point many times you think the Sith are in the right and the Jedi in the wrong, and at some other time you think they really are only two sides of the same single coin thrown into a much vaster context.
For an excellent example of this check the YouTube video: The Philosophy of Kreia: A Critical Examination of Star Wars. It’s a 2-hours long rigorous analysis of the philosophical outlook of the aforementioned Kreia, a key character from the “Knight of the Old Republic” video-game series. She’s ex-Sith, still on the dark side, and mentor to the protagonist.
I love Kreia. Your comment reminds me of the Darth Bane series, also from the Expanded Universe. It features a scene about sacrifice that has helped me through major life decisions.